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Palm Springs fest adds Aussie day

Event to highlights work of three Oz directors

The Palm Springs Film Festival has added an Australian Film day, highlighting the work of three new Aussie directors: Glendyn Ivin, thesp Rachel Ward and Warwick Thornton.

Set for Jan. 9, the Oz spotlight kicks off the G’Day USA Australia week promotion across the country. Talent including Bryan Brown, Robert Connolly, Anthony LaPaglia and Ward are expected to attend the Palm Springs event.

Nine Oz pics screening include Ivin’s “Last Ride,” with Hugo Weaving; Ward’s “Beautiful Kate”; and Thornton’s “Samson and Delilah,” which won the Camera d’Or in Cannes. A gala screening of Sarah Watt’s “My Year Without Sex” will kick off Australia Film Day. Other pics unspooling include Connolly’s “The Balibo Conspiracy,” with LaPaglia; “Blessed”; “In My Father’s Country”; “Lucky Country”; and “Wake in Fright.”

This year’s fest also includes screenings of 41 of the 65 official foreign-language film Oscar submissions, competing for the Fipresci award; and 12 international films that will compete for the New Voices/New Visions nod, which honors the work of directors making their first or second films. Other prizes to be awarded during the event include the John Schlesinger award for first-time feature or documentary. Fest runs Jan. 7-18.

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